When it comes to corn export sales, "better late than never" is apparently right. USDA reported three weeks' worth of business in one lump sum today, finally getting caught up from delays caused by the 16-day government shutdown. In the corn market, the wait was well worth it. Even divided by three, today's total was huge at 208.4 million bushes, more than doubling trade guesses.
Mexico was by far the leading buyer of corn, taking 66.5 million bushels of old crop and 28.9 million bushels of 2014 crop production. Another regular customer, Japan, took 34 million bushels, but China was in for 30.6 million bushels of 2013 corn, amid talk its overall demand for feed grains is rising.
USDA sweetened the deal even more this morning, announcing the sale of 6.85 million bushels more to South Korea, and 4.85 million bushels to Japan under daily reporting system for large purchases.
Today's weekly update means total corn commitments for 2013 top 800 million bushels, two-thirds of the total forecast by USDA for the entire marketing year. The strong pace increases potential for the agency to up its estimate Nov. 8, when it issues its first production, supply and demand report in two months.
Corn prices firmed in the wake of the report, but soybeans faded overnight gains at the morning break for screen-only trade.
Soybean business is off to an even faster start, with today's announcement of 174.2 million bushels of new sales bringing total commitments for the marketing year to1.184 billion, 86% of USDA's September forecast for the 2013 crop marketing year. China was the leading buyer during the three-weeks reported today, accounting for 77.6 million bushels of the total. More than 140 million bushels were shipped out to China during the three weeks, 75% of all shipments during the period.
Wheat sales were the only disappointing part of today's data dump, totaling 48.5 million bushels, below trade estimates, but a little above the weekly rate forecast by USDA for the marketing year. Brazil remained a strong buyer, as highlighted in the trade, taking 14.45 million bushels. China didn't show up on the list of major buyers, but shipped out 15.1 million bushels of earlier purchases.